To see beauty, use your heart, not your eyes

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” Helen Keller

In order to truly live you must see and feel with your heart. Seeing laughter does nothing until you feel it in your heart. When you do, you’ll laugh along with others.

Most people ignore misery because they look only with their eyes. They see it with disgust.  Those who see and feel it in their heart know what misery does to a person’s soul. They can feel for the other person. Those are the people who will lend a helping hand.

Many relationships end too quickly because one or both only sees with their eyes. The relationships that last a lifetime are where both have opened their hearts to each other. That is when you no longer see what the other person looks like, but who the other person is, what they are on the inside.

The greatest artists and builders are the ones who bring forth what their hearts feel, not what their eyes see. You and I may see a bridge, but they see a pathway to adventure and the great unknown. We may see just a woman posing, while the artist sees her inner beauty, or her anguished soul.

If you really want to see beauty, open your heart and let whatever image your eyes are looking at enter into it. Let yourself feel the image. Let your heart show you what you’ve been missing. Let your heart show you what beauty really is.

You’ll never look at the world the same way again.

Believe in yourself

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy” Norman Vincent Peale

If you doubt yourself, if you doubt your abilities, chances are you’ll have a tough time in whatever it is you’re trying to do and you will most likely not be happy.

There have been many times where I’ve tried something new. One time I tried to tile our kitchen. I had never done this before, nor had I ever watched someone else do it. For us, it was a matter of economics, we couldn’t afford to pay someone.

The sales people at the tile store where happy enough to sell us everything we needed and to provide rudimentary instructions. The tiles and everything else needed cost a lot of money, much more than we could afford at the time.

I was nervous and knew that I didn’t know what I was doing. I had very little confidence in my ability to tile the floor, but we needed a new floor and so it had to be done. I felt miserable with each tile I put down, knowing that I wasn’t the right person. In my mind, I saw money going out the window, knowing that it would need to be done over.

You know what? When I finished the floor, it looked horrible. Tiles began cracking as soon as the floor was ready to walk on.

Years later I did the same thing and for the same reasons. This time, my attitude was different. This time, I knew with the right preparations and the right tools, there was nothing I couldn’t do just as well as anyone else.

Before laying the first tile I made sure that I was confident enough in my ability to tile the floor. While doing the job, I felt good, knowing that this floor would last years. I felt happy while doing it and proud afterwards.

Of course, having the right tools and knowledge is key, but more important was having confidence in myself. I could have gotten both before trying to tile the first time, but since I didn’t have any confidence in myself, I felt there was no need to, that it wouldn’t make a difference.

That second tile floor has lasted for fourteen years, without a single cracked tile, and is still going. All it took was confidence in myself, believing that I could do it, that made it possible.

Why do I love you?

Today marks our 26th wedding anniversary. I wrote this poem for my wife Stefanie, whom I love even more today than yesterday.

Why do I love you?

I love you because of the gentleness of your heart,
That fills me with warmth even when the cold wind is blowing.
I love the care and tenderness you show to every living thing,
So much so that it makes me smile all the time.
I love the way you open one eye to tell me you’re awake,
So you can sleep some more when I leave.
I love your quick thinking,
That compensates for my slow wit.
I love how you depend on me to keep you safe,
When I’m no braver than you.
I love how you quote me when you think I’m not listening,
Yet take no notice when I initially say it.
I love how we can sit for hours without saying a word,
And finish the other’s sentence when we do.
I love how we know what the other is thinking,
Before a single word is said.
I love how we still hold hands when walking,
Like we did the first time.
Through the hard times,
Though there were many,
Through the easy times,
Though there were few,
And through the difficult times ahead,
My love for you will only get stronger.

What “Patience is a Virtue” means

“Patience is a Virtue”

When some people want something, they want it now. They demand to have it now. They don’t have time to wait. They will take what they can get now, rather than waiting a little for something better.

We’re all equally guilty of wanting something immediately, or sooner rather than later, at one point or another. We can’t afford to wait. Time is money. Waiting means we won’t have what we want today. We may miss out on something we can experience now. We don’t want to wait for tomorrow.

Even when we decide to wait, we become jittery. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. After a while, our patience wears thin, and we begin looking for instant gratification. When we get it sooner than expected, we heave a sigh of relieve. Aaaaaahhhhh, we got it.

But did we really get what we were waiting for, or did we lower our standards to get it sooner? We accept a smaller piece of what we were waiting for in exchange for instant gratification. Why not, tomorrow may never come. Why not take a little less today? Why not get some gratification today rather than a lot more gratification tomorrow and possibly the rest of our lives? Because today is here and tomorrow may never come.

This is an instinct we’re born with: the instinct to satisfy our needs whenever we’re able to. This is an instinct we picked up from the dawn of time: take what you can now, since you may not get the chance tomorrow.

Patience goes counter to our instincts. Patience is something which must be learned and practiced. It isn’t something which comes naturally to us. Those who master patience become more successful than those who can’t. They know that waiting for long term gratification is much better than accepting temporary instant gratification. They know that going slow and doing something right is much better than rushing and doing half a job, or worse, doing it wrong and having to repeat it, which will take longer than if they had waited. These are the people who don’t have the time or money to do something right, but manage to find much more of both when something breaks and must be fixed now. These people are you and me.

This is why patience, being able to wait, is a desirable quality. It is difficult to have the moral integrity to forego instant gratification in exchange for something better at a later date. This is why it is a virtue.

Those who have that virtue have truly understood that it is better to wait for tomorrow to take the full reward, rather than taking a small sample today.

The sunrise in the morning

“Inspiration and motivation are everywhere. To see a miracle which fills millions with awe, inspiration and motivation, which science still can’t explain, watch the sun rise in the morning.” Omar M. Kiam

The sun rising in the morning is a miracle to behold. It is one of the most beautiful things to see. The toughest people in the world, the strongest, the most feared, the bravest, and the ones who have absolutely no emotions will pause in awe and admiration at the site of a sunrise which hits a scattering of clouds in such a way that it creates a kaleidoscope of color in the sky.

While you’re waiting to see a picture of the event, someone else enjoyed and was moved enough by it to take a picture, so the moment could be shared with others.

Almost everyone acknowledges the beauty of the sunrise in the morning. Many of us are moved and inspired just by looking at pictures of it.

If a picture can move us like this, imagine what seeing the actual event would do. It is the difference between watching a silent black and white film on television and a motion picture movie on the big screen. There is no comparison.

Watching the sun rise in the morning is an impossible task for many, which is why we need the pictures. There is however, Sunday. Sunday holds a special meaning for many of us. It is a day of worship for some, a day of reflection, to look back on what we’ve done over the last six days and to plan the next six.

Sunday, or whichever is your day of reflection, is the ideal day to witness the sunrise first hand. If you can wake up early enough, and are determined enough to watch this miracle first hand, imagine what else you can accomplish that day and the rest of the week.

Want to accomplish something you’ve been struggling with? Make a commitment to see a sunrise once a week, or at the very least once a month. Before you know it, whatever you’ve been struggling with will become easier. You’ll accomplish more and will be in better spirits.

 

Stop competing with the Joneses, your grass is just as green as theirs.

“If we only wanted to be happy it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, which is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.”              Charles-Louis de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu

If there was no one else around to compare ourselves to, we would all be happier than we are. But none of us live in a vacuum. There are others around and seeing them happy makes some of us miserable.

“There must be a reason why they’re happier than we are,” we think to ourselves. Those people have a better life than we do is what most of us come back with. They have more than us. Their car is nicer or house is better decorated and so on. We think that it’s what they have that’s making them happier than us.

The trouble is, those other people look at us the same way, they think the same thing, that we have nicer things than they do, that we’re happier than they are.

Both assumptions are false. But the effect is the same, it makes us both miserable. It makes us compete against each other. When left to our own devices, we’re happy and so are they. When we see each other, we become jealous.

In our minds the other person is happier than us, making us jealous rather than happy. In their mind, we’re happier than they are, making them jealous as well. We begin to resent each other, wishing ill will on the other, hoping they’ll fail, so that we’ll be happier and better than they are.

If you want to be really happy, stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, especially when they’re trying to keep up with you. Chances are they aren’t happy at all, they just put on a good front in order to make you jealous. Don’t make them better or happier than they really are.

Be happy with who you are and what you have, and you’ll make everyone else jealous. Give it a try. You’ll be amazed at the result.

Want your luck to change? Change the way you think.

“Remember, happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think.” Dale Carnegie

I used to think if you were always happy that it meant you were doing something wrong, or that you were simple minded. At work I never smiled, work was serious business and there was no place for smiles or laughter.

Deep inside me there was always something missing. I’d think If I could make it to that corner office I’d be happy. If I got promoted, then I’d be happy. But I wasn’t happy. With the promotion came more stress, and even less time for smiling or thinking about my own happiness.

It was a catch-22. Constantly going around circles. I would be happy if I had that. When I had that, there’d be other things in the way and so the cycle would repeat.

Then I noticed something. Most of the people around me were happy. They had less than I did, had worse jobs, less money, and all kinds of other problems. But they were happy.

Overnight, my whole outlook changed. I stopped worrying about the next promotion. I stopped thinking what would happen if things went wrong. Instead I thought about what I had at the moment. I thought about the others at work who were always happy.

The next day, for the first time at work, I joined them for lunch. They were shocked. They thought I was a bastard. one of those horrible bosses. A couple of them were ready to quit. That was the first time I smiled at work. Everyone thought I hit the lottery. None of them quit. From that day forth, we had lunch together every single day.

I was a new person. Just by changing how I thought, by being content with what I had, I found happiness. I also found that things came to me easier once I exuded happiness. Promotions came quicker, people were nicer, lady luck showed up more often.

Happiness really does come from inside you, not from who you are or what you have. It comes from within, and when you become happy, doors open for you. It becomes contagious, making others around you feel the same way.

Confidence comes from trying, not from knowing you’re right

“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” Peter T. Mcintyre

I have been proven to be wrong hundreds, nay, thousands of times more than I have been right. I’ve failed more times than I can remember. However, I do not consider myself a failure. The day when I can’t hold my head up high, when I accept defeat and stop trying or saying what’s on my mind, will be the day that I become a failure.

Despite what people may claim, everyone is wrong from time to time. Being wrong means that you are not afraid to speak your mind. It means that you made an effort. It means that you’re not afraid to try.

Successful politicians and salespeople are the ones who are confident in what they say. It doesn’t matter that what they say is wrong most of the time. What matters is that they said something in a confident manner.

The only way to become confident is by not being afraid to be wrong. It is how you learn. It is how you find out that you are wrong and what the truth is.

Speaking with confidence means you’ve given thought to what you are saying. It means in your mind you think it is correct. People respect that. Don’t be afraid to be wrong. If you think about it, it’s the person who is unsure of what to say that either gets blamed, doesn’t get elected or doesn’t make any sales.

It isn’t what you say that matters, but how you say it. When you speak with confidence you give strength and inspiration to those around you. They will not hold it against you if you’re wrong. You develop your character when you admit you were wrong and gain the respect of others.

What matters most is confidence in yourself, in knowing that as long as you keep trying, you will succeed one day. The best way to build confidence in yourself is to get over the fear of being wrong, or being rejected. The world will not suddenly turn against you. When you are proven to be wrong, you’ll realize that your fear was unfounded and you’ll become more confident when speaking. You’ll realize that it’s not what you say that matters, but in how you say it.